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Front Integr Neurosci. 2009 May 4;3:7. doi: 10.3389/neuro.07.007.2009. eCollection 2009.

Directed Interactions Between Auditory and Superior Temporal Cortices and their Role in Sensory Integration.

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1
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics Tübingen, Germany.

Abstract

Recent studies using functional imaging and electrophysiology demonstrate that processes related to sensory integration are not restricted to higher association cortices but already occur in early sensory cortices, such as primary auditory cortex. While anatomical studies suggest the superior temporal sulcus (STS) as likely source of visual input to auditory cortex, little evidence exists to support this notion at the functional level. Here we tested this hypothesis by simultaneously recording from sites in auditory cortex and STS in alert animals stimulated with dynamic naturalistic audio-visual scenes. Using Granger causality and directed transfer functions we first quantified causal interactions at the level of field potentials, and subsequently determined those frequency bands that show effective interactions, i.e. interactions that are relevant for influencing neuronal firing at the target site. We found that effective interactions from auditory cortex to STS prevail below 20 Hz, while interactions from STS to auditory cortex prevail above 20 Hz. In addition, we found that directed interactions from STS to auditory cortex make a significant contribution to multisensory influences in auditory cortex: Sites in auditory cortex showing multisensory enhancement received stronger feed-back from STS during audio-visual than during auditory stimulation, while sites with multisensory suppression received weaker feed-back. These findings suggest that beta frequencies might be important for inter-areal coupling in the temporal lobe and demonstrate that superior temporal regions indeed provide one major source of visual influences to auditory cortex.

KEYWORDS:

Granger causality; auto-regressive model; cross-modal; directed transfer function; local field potential; multisensory; superior temporal sulcus

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